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Tanker collision at PDVSA can trigger force majeure

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A tanker collision at Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA’s main terminal, or Jose dock, could result in a drop in that country’s crude exports by a third in September possibly leading to a force majeure declaration, news outlets report. Several million barrels of crude to Russia, China and the United States will be delayed as a result of the accident.

During mooring operations last weekend, the Greek-flagged Meganisi carrying imported naphtha collided with the terminal´s south dock, reducing the terminal’s 1.5mn b/d capacity by up to 425,000 b/d. Reports say that up to 100,000 b/d of naphtha imports scheduled for September are also affected.

Imported naphtha is used as a diluent to transport Orinoco extra-heavy crude and to produce exportable diluted crude oil (DCO). An official of the terminal is reported to have said that PdVSA could declare force majeure or cancel the export of over 10mn bl of crude, DCO and syncrude. The products had been scheduled for loading at the Jose terminal in the last week of August and over the month of September.

According to reports, neither PDVSA nor the energy ministry has commented officially on what caused the collision and the impact on export and import operations.

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